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Opera Claims Microsoft Has Poor Interoperability 316

Posted by Zonk
from the tit-for-tat dept.
Noksagt writes "Opera CTO Hakon Lie has countered the claims that Bill Gates made regarding Microsoft's superior interoperability last week. He points out their invalid webpages, MS's unwillingness to serve the same content to different browsers, IE's poor CSS support, tardy documentation and limitations of their XML format, and more." From the article: "You say you believe in interoperability. Why then, did you terminate the Web Core Fonts initiative you started in 1996? You deserve credit for starting it, but why close down a project which could have given you yet much good will? (Verdana sucks, but Georgia is beautiful!)"
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Opera Claims Microsoft Has Poor Interoperability

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  • by fembots (753724) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:31PM (#11654992) Homepage
    After .Net sucks [slashdot.org] and Solaris, JVM suck too [slashdot.org], I believe we're entering a new era in 2005, where litigation is a past tense.

    It's just so much easier, and more importantly cheaper, to attack competitors like this.
  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:34PM (#11655018)
    I'm not much into the fine arts, but someone's written an opera about Microsoft's poor interoperability?!

    I can't wait to hear the fat lady sing in this one!
  • MS's unwillingness to serve the same content to different browsers

    Well I can vouch for that: there is just no way I can access my Hotmail account with Mozilla, and it seems a dicey affair with Konq. However, for some reason (ahem...), it works just great with IE :-)

    Oh well, nothing new here. Remember the DRDOS case against Microsoft? They claimed Windows couldn't interoperate without MSDOS 7 too, yet it could. It's a classic case of Microsoft trying to maintain its monopolies by messing with standards to
    • by dicepackage (526497) * <dicepackage@gm a i l.com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:39PM (#11655050) Homepage
      I have had no trouble getting Hotmail to work in Mozilla Firefox. You might want to try using a more recent version of Mozilla if you aren't already using the most up to date version.
      • I use Mozilla 1.7.5 and it doesn't work. If you point out to me what I might be doing wrong, I'd appreciate. I've try enabling cookies and whatnot, to no avail.

        Note that it's not much of a problem really, since I use Gotmail to redirect stuff coming to my Hotmail account to my main POP3 account :-) The Hotmail one is just to subscribe to annoying spam-prone internet services.
      • Works for me too. The only non-spyware site I've found that won't work with Firefox is WIndowsupdate. (On the public Internet, at least. Intranets have all kinds of horrible IE-only or MS-JVM apps.)

        The issue is that, according to Opera's CEO, some MS sites are deliberately serving broken HTML if the browser identifies itself as Opera. When Opera tells the site it's IE (or Firefox, or anything else), the sites work fine.
        • walla.com hasn't worked in mozilla for sending email for a while. As a whole, mozilla still provides better compatibility. Microsoft pretty well set a precident that monopolizing is ok with their netscape crashing back in the win9x days, so I dont see how they'll get stuck with anything now.
    • Hotmail in Moz, etc. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Noksagt (69097)
      Hotmail works for me in Firefox on win32, OS X, Linux, and FreeBSD. Using Opera on all of the same platforms, I could not use the new delete messages feature that is touched on in the article:
      You say you believe in interoperability. Why does the Hotmail service deny Opera access to the same scripts as Microsoft's own browser? As a result, Opera users can't delete junk mail.
    • I wouldn't be surprised - Microsoft already did this with Hotmail and Opera. [slashdot.org]. I can't find a link for it, but i'm pretty sure they ended up settling it.
    • What about google? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ad0gg (594412)
      Last time i checked maps.google.com doesn't work in opera. I don't see the guys from opera or anyone else complaining about this.
      • Last time i checked maps.google.com doesn't work in opera. I don't see the guys from opera or anyone else complaining about this.

        Last time I checked (like 5 seconds ago), maps.google.com said this:

        Your browser is not supported by Google Maps just yet. We currently support the following browsers:

        IE 5.5+ (download: Windows)
        Firefox 0.8+ (download: Windows Mac Linux)
        Netscape 7.1+ (download: Windows Mac Linux)
        Mozilla 1.4+ (download: Windows Mac Linux)

        We are working on supporting Safari. Regardless of your

    • by ralphclark (11346) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:54PM (#11655504) Journal
      I access hotmail exclusively through Mozilla and I've had no trouble at all. However there are plenty of badly designed websites which don't work properly or render badly in Mozilla. One that springs to mind is the Royal Mail website [royalmail.co.uk]. Absolutely appalling that a public utility website should be designed this way. There ought to be accessibility rules governing this sort of thing. Somebody should be fired for that.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The only major problem I have with using Mozilla with Hotmail is Microsft recoding the interface based on what browser you are using. They do no want you to use tab browsing on other brosers to open email content. Hence your links are all javascript. However when you use IE. they are normal hypertext links. Why the difference? Only to fustrate people using Mozilla or Opera when they try to hope multiple tabs to read, write mail multaskingly.

      It is a low underhanded trick. But MicroBS gets away with it. Plus
  • by phoxix (161744) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:36PM (#11655030)
    Verdana rocks

    Sunny Dubey
    (not a technical font person etc etc)
  • by toby (759)
    Verdana does suck. Especially on paper - it should never, ever, be seen off the screen.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now you can only get them with Windows. Just like a drug pusher... the first one's free, then you pay, and only from them.
  • Verdana (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twistedcubic (577194) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:44PM (#11655104)
    Maybe verdana does suck, but reading serif fonts on a computer screen causes a lot more eye strain than reading sans serif fonts. Of course, serif fonts like Georgia look good on paper, but on a computer screen, I think sans-serif fonts are much better.
    • Serif vs. sans-serif (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:53PM (#11655154)

      I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about what makes fonts easy to read. The reason both Verdana and Georgia are easier for most people to read on a screen has more to do with being well-hinted, being designed to avoid warts at the relatively low resolutions in use, and having a large x-height. None of these is particularly true of obvious alternatives like Times Roman and Helvetica/Arial on most of today's systems. The presence or absence of serifs has relatively little to do with it.

      More surprisingly, some research has suggested that serifs don't actually help much on paper either, at least for shorter works. They do seem to boost reading ease in long, blocky works like novels, but for something like a magazine article or a short paper, reading ease isn't much of an indicator one way or the other.

      • More surprisingly, some research has suggested that serifs don't actually help much on paper either, at least for shorter works. They do seem to boost reading ease in long, blocky works like novels, but for something like a magazine article or a short paper, reading ease isn't much of an indicator one way or the other.

        Serifs DO help reading on paper because the "little thignies" (serifs) that extend perpendicular to stroke ends help the eye denote where the stroke actually ends. And it also helps greatly

        • Serifs DO help reading on paper because the "little thignies" (serifs) that extend perpendicular to stroke ends help the eye denote where the stroke actually ends. And it also helps greatly to differentiate different letters, such as capital "i", lower-case "l" and the digit one, a thing impossible to do in a (otherwise beautiful) font like "Gill Sans".

          Thank you for the review of chapter 1 of the typography textbook. However, if you turn to chapter 2, I believe you may find some surprises...

          The conven

    • I think Verdana's pretty nice actually. It's just about the most readable font there is IMHO. I'm using it for just about everything on my desktop.
  • by bonch (38532) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:45PM (#11655107)
    Dave Hyatt, who writes a blog about his development on Apple's Safari [mozillazine.org], has an amusing anecdote about developing CSS2 support in Safari, and how IE's piss-poor support of standards forced him to remove it in Safari.

    From the blog:

    "Sometimes trying to support the standards can be a real pain.

    While trying to improve our CSS2 compliance, I recently did a big cleanup of our block layout code, including the code for handling floats. I made what I believed to be a fairly innocuous correction to follow the CSS2 specification. Here's the scenario.

    Lets say you have a div that is set to 300 pixels in CSS. You then put a 250 pixel wide float inside that div. Immediately after that you have a 100 pixel wide overflow:hidden div. All sizes have been specified in CSS.

    Now here's the pop quiz. What do you think the layout should be? Should the overflow div:
    (a) Be on the same line with the float and spill out of the enclosing 300 pixel div
    (b) Be placed underneath the float, automatically clearing it because there is insufficient space for
    the overflow div next to the float

    Before I give an answer, lets see what the CSS specification has to say on this issue. Section 9.5 on floats, fifth paragraph.

    'The margin box of a table or an element in the normal flow that establishes a new block formatting context (such as an element with 'overflow' other than 'visible') must not overlap any floats in the same block formatting context as the element itself. If necessary, implementations should clear the said element by placing it below any preceding floats, but may place it adjacent to such floats if there is sufficient space.'

    My interpretation of this language is that there must be sufficient space for the table or overflow:hidden element to fit within the containing block. If not, you should clear. That's what I implemented. So in my opinion the correct answer to the question above is (b).

    I decided to see what other browsers did. I started with Gecko. Gecko chose (a). Gecko always does (a). It is at least consistent if - in my humble opinion - incorrect. Gecko chooses (a) regardless of whether you pick strict, almost strict or quirks mode.

    Next I tried WinIE, and this is the part that blew my mind. Depending on whether the float was an image or a table, the float was left or right aligned, the table specified that it floated via the align attribute or the float CSS property, and on whether or not the normal flow element was declared as a sibling or not of the float, I could get completely different results! The level of inconsistency was astonishing.

    I was able to watch WinIE do clipping in one case, to wrap in a second case, to not wrap in a third case, to overwrite content in a fourth case, all by just tweaking the parameters outlined above. It's no wonder Web designers have no idea how to code a page to standards when they have to deal with a layout engine that is so horribly inconsistent and buggy.

    Naively I opted to implement (b) and to hope for the best. Unfortunately the bugs immediately started pouring in. finance.yahoo.com was broken for example because it used an old-style align table and relied on it not wrapping underneath the float. Undaunted, I simply added a strict mode/quirks mode check and opted to do (a) in quirks mode and (b) in strict mode.

    The bugs kept coming in though. Next was versiontracker.com, a page that is actually in strict mode and relies on an overflow:hidden div to spill out of a containing block rather than wrapping.

    So now I really have no choice. This is an example of where the CSS2 standard simply can't be followed because buggy layout engines have set a bad precedent that the rest of us have no choice but to follow.

    It's a shame that Gecko does not do the right thing in strict mode at least, but I suppose they had no choice in the matter either."
  • LMAO, AGAIN (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TK2K (834353) <the.soul.hack@gmail.com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:50PM (#11655137)
    LMAO
    I have to say, i really wasn't expecting that hostel of a letter to be put out by opera, but its funny as hell.
    This is almost as bad as when Microsoft made IE part of your operating system. before (in win98 ) you could remove IE and get it to still work, now, if you remove it you virtually kiss your OS goodbye.
    Its all part of their strategy, like donating computers to schools, your not being nice, your getting kids hooked on MS word at age 8! I have to say, Microsoft is one of the best companies ever if you just look at what they do as a business, but their products are crap.
    unfortunetly, its the only crap that will play half life 2 ^_^
    • Re:LMAO, AGAIN (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel AT bcgreen DOT com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:47PM (#11655462) Homepage Journal
      You could remove IE and get it to still work, now, if you remove it you virtually kiss your OS goodbye.

      At the time, My roommate (who did a lot of windows stuff) figured out that you could use the IE3 uninstaller to uninstall IE4, and you'd be fine.

      For me this simply proved that MS was, in fact capable of safely removing IE4, but they chose not to --- and, in fact, they willfully broke the OS of any customer impertinent enough to remove Microsoft's browser from their system.

  • by NanoGator (522640)
    What's funny is that this is the same company that released a 'Bork [opera.com]' version of their browser.
  • Georgia? (Score:2, Funny)

    by MostlyHarmless (75501)
    Quoth the summary:

    "Verdana sucks, but Georgia is beautiful!"


    The author obviously has never been to Atlanta. :-p
    • Atlanta's quaint old railway station is cute though - even if the locals haven't a clue where it is because they rarely use it!
  • MS vs /. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_mighty_$ (726261) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @07:58PM (#11655181)

    ...He points out their invalid webpages...


    It looks like MSN's markup [htmlhelp.com] is more valid then Slashdot's [htmlhelp.com] is.

  • by Foktip (736679) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:03PM (#11655210)
    i remember the good old days. opera died after firefox showed up - but whenever you used opera, you could just tell by the feel of it, that Windows had bad interoperability... Netscape and early mozilla had the same feel. it felt like it just didnt belong, as if it was a tresspasser compared to IE. Microsoft has 'McInteroperability'. Thats like interoperability only it only goes one way. Eg: -DirectX ONLY runs on Windows (TM), and is the industry standard. -NTFS _was_ only useable by windows. -MS Office only runs on windows -MS programs inherently run 5x faster than any competitors programs (something to do with APIs) Overall, microsoft doesnt really understand what interoperability means in the first place - they probably think it means "capability to run under MS Windows(TM)" - like Apache, PHP, Mysql, Firefox, Openoffice, etc.
    • Many good points, but I simply can't agree on this one: -MS programs inherently run 5x faster than any competitors programs (something to do with APIs)

      What kind of APIs do you really think they use that give such a great speed boost and still are unavailable to everybody else? You know, it's not that hard to track down what the software actually does with debuggers and monitoring tools. Yes, some Microsoft products use some undocumented calls, but they are mainly insignificant. On the other hand, many tru

  • by Jahuti (323700) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:05PM (#11655219)
    It was previously commented that Microsoft is going down the tubes because of several factors, like IE not being updated in years (except for security patches), and Longhorn being way late. This is just another example. The smell of rot from the direction of Redmond is getting stronger.
  • by Col. Bloodnok (825749) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:07PM (#11655232)
    ...in a state of suspended animation here [sourceforge.net]

    I prefer Bitstream Vera myself.

    For terminals though, I *love* non-smoothed Lucida Typewriter 9 point. Not the Xfree version though (the 'm' and 'w' look wierd), I like the one which comes with Solaris (the standard font used by OpenWindow's cmdtool).

    Mmm, functional :).
  • My Dog... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    My dog's better than your dog...
  • by Dorsai65 (804760)
    but that's understandable. He still has a lot of valid points, and does a *fine* job of raking Bill G. over the coals :-)
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:24PM (#11655324)
    With the increasing popularity of Firefox, Opera needed to do something to try to reverse its shrinking marketshare of the browser market. It is good to see Opera getting a little of the publicity it so desparately needs.
  • by rollx (830963) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:28PM (#11655352) Homepage
    try to validate the www.msn.co.il [w3.org] (it's the israeli portal),
    ... and... you'll get 1338 errors (on 1 page!!!)
    I think it tells a lot about this 1337 (+1) company
  • Good one! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crazy2k (828067) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:30PM (#11655363)
    What a great answer from this Opera Software's executive. I think we all know enough about this subject, but replies like this, from important executives, are helping everybody realize what Microsoft is doing.
  • by zigam (837686) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:30PM (#11655365) Homepage
    Robert Scoble, Microsoft's chief humanising officer [economist.com] has posted a response [weblogs.com] to Hakon's letter.

    Apparently, they are working hard to fix it in IIS 7.0 and the next version of ASP.NET.
    Apparently.
    • Well I haven't read Scoble's response, but how on earth can changes to IIS fix IE's rendering problems, and that's what Hakon was mainly complaining about.

      • Well I haven't read Scoble's response, but how on earth can changes to IIS fix IE's rendering problems

        Sigh. Here's the excerpt:

        "I invite Håkon to watch Channel 9 too. In about a week we have an interview with Scott Guthrie, who heads up the IIS and ASP.NET teams. I gave Scott crap about just this problem in that interview and he says that they are working hard to fix it in IIS 7.0 and the next version of ASP.NET. Not exactly the answer that Lie will want to hear, but demonstrates that we are worki
      1. Apparently, they are working hard to fix it in IIS 7.0 and the next version of ASP.NET. Apparently.

      Well, call me a skeptic, though I'll believe that when they actually implement security properly (by default -- not the theoretical after the fact kind) and don't stab business partners in the back on a regular basis. Long established habbits tend to be the hardest to break -- though I don't think there's much will or intent to change. Why should they?

  • The Word 97 fiasco. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel AT bcgreen DOT com> on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:31PM (#11655366) Homepage Journal
    Then, of course, there was the Word 97 fiasdo [hal-pc.org]. Word 97 was incompatible with Word 95. Now this wasn't nasty in, and of itself -- there will almost always be new features that won't work in older versions, and sometimes there are good reasons to sometimes switch to newer formats when you have a major sea change in how you're doing things (like Open Office's move to the Open Document Format, along with KOffice and most of the rest of the Open Source word processors).

    Thing about Word 97 is that it was unwilling to save in word 5/95 format. This is something that MS refused to fix for the better part of a year.

    In the meantime, any company that bought a new PC was only offered word 97 for the new machine. This meant that, the first time they saved a document that needed to be read anywhere else in the company, all recipients needed to buy the '97 version to read it (much less to edit it). You could save your document in RTF format, but the '97 RTF format was sadly broken.... Back to plan A.

    MS did, in time, release an official plugin that allowed you to save in word'95 format (as long as you were willing to work your way thru the warning messages), but I don't believe that it was possible to set '95 as the default save format, so -- sooner or later you'd accidently just 'save', and the next thing you know, your recipients can't read your document.

    The end result of this is that MS raked in Billions of dollars in spurious sales by forcing people to abandon all older versions of their word processors. This is part of the way that they cemented their monopoly on the office software market.
    _____

    Then of course, there's the NT filesystem [sourceforge.net] that is sorely short on public documentation, and almost impossible to figure out. As far as I can tell, Microsoft is entirely uninterested in letting others interoperate with it. In fact, I'm guessing that they put in some strange land-mines just to piss off people trying to use it other than from inside of the most recent versions of Windows.

    • Yeah, I remember the Office 95/97 landmine. Got hit by the PPT format cutover about that point to. While revising slides. At the conference. And found I couldn't open my presentation any more.....

      Microsoft also created a set of read-only tools for Word, PPT, and Excel. Except....

      Under Linux, if you've got a document reader, spurious typing is generally ignored. Microsoft's solution? A fscking popup window telling you "Sorry, you can't edit this document" (or words to the effect). For someone tra

  • it appears they misspelt "points out" as "claims"
  • by TheCeltic (102319) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @08:41PM (#11655421) Homepage
    Supports Windows NT/XP/2K/Pocket PC. Now that's interoperability! NOT!

    It's like C# being multiplatform... multiple windows platforms...
  • I agree with the OP that it's a shame Microsoft stopped pushing its embedded fonts technology (though it does still work [spoono.com]). I also think it's a shame that the W3 didn't approve the standard [w3.org].

    But what is stopping Opera or Mozilla from implementing its own truetype embedded font technology? I just don't understand it at all. Fonts already have a protection bit for copyright enforcement. It's not like it will install a virus on your computer -- it's more akin to a cookie.

    It's incredibly frustrating to see
  • Fonts! (Score:5, Funny)

    by kuzb (724081) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @09:14PM (#11655642)
    Verdana sucks, but Georgia is beautiful!

    Remind me not to hire you to design a website

  • by DaveJay (133437) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @09:15PM (#11655650)
    I'm working on my first .Net project at work, where I have to provide compatible HTML. We spent three hours figuring out all the oddball stuff .Net does to HTML, then I spent a day writing up documentation on it. During the documentation review, we opened a demo page in Mozilla instead of IE, and all the Panel-control-created div tags were replaced with table sets. Imagine our surprise.

    As we started digging, we started finding lots more stuff like this; for example, tables get a style of "border-collapse: collapsed" by default in IE, which is a tag that IE uses to tighen up table structures (into non-standard measurements) while other browsers ignore the tag. There's no reason for this tag to be there, except to guarantee that tables will look different in IE as compared to other browsers.

    The punch line, of course, is that this "feature" can't be turned off. So now we either have to burn a lot of extra effort to validate multiple sets of rendered HTML, or we have to give up alternative-browser compatibility -- which I am sure was the point in the first place.

    (few things microsoftie make me seethe, but this one does...)
  • I really like the habit people have of specifying Windows-only (or only available by special download) fonts in web pages. It greatly improves the legibility of the page for me, because it means that the browser ignores it entirely and uses the default font, rather than picking a font that only looks good on some web designer's screen. The page about what's wrong with Verdana pleased me greatly, because all of the samples were rendered beautifully in Lucidux Serif. The samples of what happens if you use 85%
  • by craXORjack (726120) on Saturday February 12, 2005 @10:18PM (#11656071)
    Well MSN definitely has poor interOPERAbility. Remember the Swedish Chef browser? [opera.com]

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